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Pierce O’Leary exclusive: I believe this is gonna be my year

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Pierce O’Leary exclusive: I believe this is gonna be my year

Pierce O’Leary exclusive: I believe this is gonna be my year

If the cliche that a happy fighter is a dangerous fighter is true then Pierce O’Leary’s opponent on Saturday night should be worried.

The Irishman faces Belgium’s Hovhannes Matirosyan on Saturday night and can’t wait to introduce fans to Pierce O’Leary version 2.0. For all the latest fight odds, visit our sportsbook.

“I’m a very, very happy fighter,” he told 32Red.

“Everything should be on point”

Pierce O’Leary

“I haven’t felt like this in a really long time. I’m excited. If this is how I should be feeling, then everything else should be on point in fight week.”

The unbeaten super lightweight spent years training under Alan Smith at the iBox gym in Kent but over time, leaving his wife and daughter at home in Dublin became harder and harder.

A few months ago he made the decision to join Joe McNally and his team in Liverpool.
Now, his family are less than an hour away and O’Leary can concentrate fully on fulfilling his undoubted potential.

‘Big Bang’ obviously did his research into McNally before upping sticks and moving North but if he made the decision for personal reasons, he has been surprised by just how much he has enjoyed the training in Liverpool.

It was a case of not knowing what you need until you find it.

“When I made the change it was for different reasons but when I look back now, it was probably the best thing I’ve ever done,” the 24 year old said. “At the heart of that was myself being happy. I found that but also found that the training was a lot harder and a lot technically better. It’s a win-win situation for me.

“I’ve got power but know when to use it”

“I had a little sense to take things into my own hands and do what was best for me and my family. When boxing’s gone, that’s all you’ve got really. I thought that was the best thing to do. My gut was telling me that for a long time. Looking back it was was probably the best decision I’ve ever made. I’m surrounded by like minded people and great coaches – hungry fighters, former world champions. There’s nothing more I could ask for.”

The decision to change gyms must have been made much more difficult by the success O’Leary has enjoyed. Lots of fighters use a defeat as an excuse to change trainers but winning fights makes it much easier to push problems to one side.

O’Leary arrived in Liverpool as an undefeated fighter with an exciting reputation, a TV deal and the backing of a major promoter. McNally isn’t the type of trainer to make unnecessary sweeping changes to a fighter’s style but the trainer and his team at the gym have seen a few areas they can improve upon to make the big punching O’Leary even more dangerous.

“They’ve seen many things. They’ve been brushing up on my flaws. Tightening my defence and guard. My footwork is tremendous and also working on my engine. When to pick it up, when to take it down. When to pick the right opportunities for the right shots. That’s really it. The training is also a lot harder.

“Don’t show all my cards at once. I’ve got power but know when to use it. I’ve just got to remember I’ve got ten or twelve rounds to break them down.”

“He’s not been in with someone of my level”

Pierce O’Leary

O’Leary is a heavy handed factor in a busy super lightweight division. Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall sit at the top of the division and will settle their long running grudge in April whilst Dalton Smith and Adam Azim are at the beginning of their rivalry. O’Leary sits right in an exciting mix of fighters like Jack Rafferty, Harlem Eubank and Luke McCormack who are looking for the moment to show that they too are capable of moving towards European level.

“At the moment I just need to be in the gym, building that bond. The bond was already there but you should always keep growing it. The lads in the gym are fantastic and it really does feel like home,” he said.

“I believe with the new team, this is gonna be my year. There are gonna be a lot of big fights for me. I’m kind of pretty much British and Irish level and once you prove that you’re ready to step up again and go forward again. I do think it’ll be a very exciting year. My team have every confidence in me and I have every confidence in them.”

O’Leary’s exciting year should get off to an explosive fight this weekend. Matirosyan isn’t shy about coming forward and likes to get on the front foot and let his hands go. This is the first time he has boxed outside of the boxing back water of Belgium and he will be keen to make the most of the opportunity. If he tries to drag O’Leary into a war, things could get extremely interesting very quickly.

“He’s 15-0 with ten knockouts. He hasn’t been in with somebody of my level and that’s the truth. He’s got so many flaws that we’ve been working on and as soon as he commits, that’s his downfall.

“He could be blowing after three or four rounds if it goes that far.”

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